An Icy Soul

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
Martin attends his sister's funeral.

Submitted: July 27, 2012

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Submitted: July 27, 2012

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Martin pulled his coat tightly around him, trying to shut out the chill in the air and the sleet that moved through it. It was the middle of winter, the sleet was lashing down, the sky covered with gloomy clouds. Martin was attending his sister's funeral, the great spire of the church towered above him. The church was ancient and worn, the cemetery railings were rusted and bent, the trees were old and gnarled, icicles hanging like knives from them. Even with all the people in attendance, Martin still thought it was eerie and haunting. He observed the other people, all dressed in black, wearing black overcoats. There were several couples, a family or two, and several single women, separated from the rest, sobbing gently into already soaked tissues. They all had black umbrellas, but even they could do nothing against the ferocity with which the sleet was coming down. The wind howled, rushing through the trees, redirecting the sleet into people's faces. They were gathered loosely around an open grave, which was now lined with mud and slush.

 

Martin himself was dressed in black, also wearing a black overcoat, he wore a black fedora to cover his head and part of his face. He was a tallish man, aged twenty-four, with piercing green eyes and short, brown hair. He hadn't shaved for a few days, as a mark of respect for his sister. They hadn't gotten on too well in life, him being born seven years later than her and redirecting his parents attention from her. But now, here he was, standing in the freezing cold, waiting for the casket to be lowered into the earth, finally allowing his sister to rest. Several crows were atop the church spire, cawing at one another angrily. The church bell rang, causing the crows to flee, just as the huge doors opened. The sleet also halted, the wind calmed, and all was silent except the echo of the bell. His sister's coffin was a black rectangular box, with gold handles and a gold plate on the lid, bearing her name. As the pallbearers descended the steps, everyone turned to watch, there was no more crying, just silent reverence.

 

The pallbearers were wearing the same black overcoats as everyone else. They moved slowly and purposefully, being followed by a grim looking priest. Martin suspected the priest did this kind of thing very often, if he did he managed to not look bored with it. The pallbearers reached the graveside, lowering the coffin into the hole, as the priest began to speak. Martin drifted off into his thoughts, the cold disappearing and the priest's words becoming a dull drone in the back of his mind. He thought of all the time he'd spent with his sister, realising how much he missed her. He'd promised himself he would not cry, he'd tried not to feel sad, but now grief ripped through him in waves. Somehow, being beside the grave made her death more real than when he'd received the phone call at three in the morning. It hit him that she was gone, forever, and that thought caused more anger and sadness to well up in him, anger at his parents, at her, at the priest who dared to preach about a woman who he'd never known to her closest relatives and acquaintances, at the doctors who'd been unable to save her, but mostly at himself. Now that she was gone, he would never get to spend any more time with her, and he now regretted how little effort he'd put into seeing her, into talking with her, into being part of the family.

 

Martin was pulled from his thoughts when one of the sombre gravediggers threw the first shovel of dirt onto the coffin lid, instantly the sleet returned and the wind came back, howling louder than ever. A hand placed itself on his shoulder. “It wasn't your fault, lad.” Martin turned to look at the man, he had been one of the pallbearers, he was about Martin's height, with greying brown hair and dull green eyes, wrinkled lines creased his face, “Thank you,” Martin said, giving the man a blank stare. He tried to work out who he was, an uncle perhaps? Maybe an older cousin? Martin had no idea. Mourners had started to leave, one or two at a time, sobbing sadly to themselves, but Martin barely noticed, he was focused on this strange man.

The man's eyes twinkled, “You've got to let her go, lad, she's in a better place now.”

Martin nodded, “It's just... My whole life I wanted nothing more than to be rid of her, of them all, to be alone, to do things my way, but now she's gone, I'd give anything to bring her back.” The sadness washed over Martin again, as well as shock, what was he saying? He'd never trusted a stranger so much, but there something about the man's face, he seemed familiar, and he knew exactly what to say. “I know how you feel, son, I've felt exactly the same way before,” the man's eyes unfocused as he seemed to drift off into his thoughts, there was a pause before he snapped back, “But you have to let her go, you're here, she is not, she wouldn't want you to waste your life, just think on it.”

And with that, the man strolled slowly away.

 

Martin looked back at the casket in the earth, thinking over what the man had said. He had been right, Martin needed to let her go. No amount of regret or wishing would ever bring her back. But then, how could that man be so certain that she would want him to move on? The crows flew through the trees, over the heads of the mourners as they trudged through the sleet. Martin realised that she would, she'd never said it, she'd rarely showed it, but she'd loved him, she would want this, it was right. Martin knew this was the end, he threw a rose down onto the lid of the casket, gazed at it sadly and walked away. Martin walked at a furious pace through the people and the drifting snowflakes, he saw the man walking away.

He shouted, “Hey! Hey you,” the man turned, “I think I understand what you mean.”

“No, you don't,” the man smiled, “But one day, son, I think you will.” His eyes brightened slightly, his mouth turned into a knowing smile, he nodded to Martin, turned around, and carried on walking. Martin thought about following him, but decided against it, he had what he needed, and so all alone, he walked slowly home, while beautiful snowflakes fell all about him.

 


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